Wednesday, December 24, 2008

If I don't see you before the New Year

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year's Eve!

Thank you all for your warm, funny comments this past year.

I wish we had a bit more time, and a teleporter so we could carry on our conversations in person, over cake and pie (except for that strange dude who asked me where all the werewolves hang out, and could I fix him up with their addresses. Sorry, buddy. Not you.)

I don't know if I'll get time to blog while I'm overseas, but I've bought a little paper notebook that I hope to jot interesting things in. Perhaps, if everyone wishes for world peace and claps their hands at the same time on Christmas Day, an angel will get its wings, and an9ie will get her blogging act together.

Then you might even get to read some of my travel notes (although with my handwriting, if I don't transcribe what I've written within two days, it's gone, baby). There might even be some accompanying pictures!

xo Angie

P.S. I'll be home at the end of January.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The darndest things make me laugh

Caution: F-bomb ahead!

I saw this poster at Mr McKnob's website, and consequently gave a little "teehee".



Source:
I don't know what the original source for this poster is, but I first saw it at http://mrmcknob.blogspot.com/2008/12/look-at-her-face.html ("Look at her face!", Mr. McKnob, December 7 2008). Mr. McKnob is the husband of Crystal McKnob from Boobs, Injuries and Dr Pepper.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Babelfish is a party-pooper

I've spent most of this evening getting organised for our European trip (we leave on Boxing Day). For me this involves printing out and saving digital copies of any airline e-tickets, hotel reservations, public transport maps, and checking fares for public transport in each city.

Tip: in many cases the tourist transport cards are not only more expensive, but provide you with more options than you will need. E.g., Paris Visite card vs. buying a carnet (special name for a pack of 10) Métro tickets. The tickets in the carnet are valid for single trips on the RER, Métro, and buses, and will cover most of Paris--unless you're going to somewhere in the outer 'burbs, like Versailles.

Anyway, I do all these things because if I don't, we'll all be lost in a ditch somewhere and sold as sex-slaves to Angola. Also, the world will explode.

During my research, I followed a link to the BVG website (Berlin Transportation Company) and I saw this little promotion at the bottom of the page:


Ah, those cheeky Germans, I thought. What do we have here? Something risqué and provocative, no doubt. Something that our strait-laced Australian commuter and advertising groups would never condone!

My second thought was, Hello, little Lego man in the corner!

Here's a closeup of the picture that piqued my interest:

Psst, lady! Pick the one on the right. an9ie thinks he's cuter!
He also has nice hands.
P.S. Please don't go with a threesome.
They always end in tears; I have seen enough HBO shows to know.

I ran the web page through Babelfish to translate, and ... boooring!

Wait, perhaps I can still save the situation.

Let's pretend the guy on the left is called "Von Karstadt" and the one the right is Douglas AKA "The Lock" or "Steam Turbine and Gas Turbine Systems Entertainment"... Now we're getting somewhere!

Source: Images from http://www.bvg.de/ on December 19, 2008.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mmm, free

Today is the first day that I've felt properly Christmassy, that is, full of goodwill towards men. This makes a change from the rest of the year, when I'm full of dark, murky feelings and general loathing for anything that walks on two legs.

I was driving to work, and was wondering if I should park in my usual area, which is free and always has room, but (there's always a "but") is an unsheltered 20 minute walk from the office. The weather forecast said it was going to be HOT and I could already see the dizzying waves of heat rising from the ground.

Then I thought, What the heck, today might be my lucky day. Be spontaneous*, Angie! Go on and try that car park in front of work.

So I entered the car park, turned left, and there was a lady unlocking her car boot. Was she taking something out because she had just parked? Or was she putting something in and about to leave?

Suspense, right?


I made the universal, are-you-leaving? gestures, and she smiled and nodded "yes". Woohoo!

And then ... and then she walked over with something in her hand. I got out of my seat. The air was electric.

The lady GAVE me her parking ticket.

"It's valid until 5pm," she said, smiling.

Ohhh, free parking.

Free parking is like free money, which is probably the best thing in the world** that you could give a Chinese person. Actually, let's not stereotype. It is probably the best thing in the world that you could give a Chinese person named an9ie, or [insert name of an9ie's immediate family, and all her mother's and father's relatives].

"A-are you sure?" I gibbered. My eyes may have gone a little misty.

"Oh yes. Besides, the council gets too much of our money already," she nodded grimly and narrowed her eyes.

A woman after my own heart. You'd better watch out, City of X council.


* Yep, that's about as spontaneous as I get.
** The next best thing would be something that gave you fresh, free, other-people's money at regular intervals.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Because it's nearly Christmas

Wil Wheaton's roof started leaking in a major way yesterday¹, and to take his mind off the negative aspects of the day, he decided to take a moment to pick out three different things that he was happy or grateful for. He also said, "The exercise is awesome, because the first thing is always very easy to list, but it's a challenge to just pick two more things."

Since Christmas is just around the corner, and should be a time for giving thanks rather than drowning in an orgy of consumption, I thought I'd give this exercise a try.

Now, we don't usually indulge in this kind of touchy-feely whatnot in this blog--so let's not make a habit of it, you hear? Bah humbug!

Anyway, three things I'm happy or grateful for:

1) Loved ones who make me laugh (you've read enough of the evidence to know), and the time we have together, now.

2) The gift of sight. As a serious myope who is pretty much helpless sans glasses or contact lens, I have a fear of going blind one day, although my optometrist assures me it is very unlikely. Regardless, I still jump at unexpected shadows or reflections ("Arrrgh! Retinal detachment! Oh ... wait ... it was just a shiny car going past.") As an artist, I would be lost if I couldn't see to create, or if I couldn't look at other people's creations. So, when I look out of the window on a clear day and can see all the way out to the horizon, or when I say good night to my mother and see her smile, I feel very, very grateful.

3) Learning to play the violin. (It's a strange, anxious mentality I have, always being afraid that something I love is going to be snatched away from me. It's not just my sight. Sometimes I have nightmares about losing my fingers in a road accident and not being able to draw or play a musical instrument.) I know I am very lucky to be able to fulfill a dream I've had since I was a teenager, that I can afford books and lessons with an incredible teacher. I love playing my violin, even when it sounds awful, because I know it won't always be that way, and that one day I will make it sing as well as my teacher does.

There are more things I'm grateful for, of course. And I'm going to list them here quickly as well (ooh, rule breaking!):

4) The fact that I will be starting a year-long course in animation next year, and that I can keep working and earning money while I chase my dream (and hopefully, catch it). Also, even though I bitch about how much the course fees are, I'm grateful that I managed to save enough money (I've been saving since last year!) to be able to pay the fees in full.

5) That MFC's lovely mother and her attractive partner (I have to say that, he reads this blog :) are flying their offspring (and their partners! Squee!) to Europe on Boxing Day for a three week holiday. We will be going to Frankfurt, Berlin, Paris, Geneva and Chamonix. I can't wait to take snow photos!

What three (or five -- what the hey, it's Christmas!) things are you grateful for?

¹Source: "my roof is leaking; life is good" by Wil Wheaton, posted on December 15, 2008 at http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2008/12/my-roof-is-leak.html

Op shopping: Dalarna/horsie/pinata tray


I found this little tray in Good Sammy's for $1. The bright colours and the toy-like quality of the horse just really appealed to me. I'm going to get some clear plastic and cut it to the right size for the bottom of the tray, so that I can put things on it without scratching the finish. The tray is a perfect size for holding coins, jewellery, or marshmallows.

an9ie: Do you think this is a bit tacky?

MFC: It's a colourful piñata horse. What's not to like?

I Googled "Dalarna" and there it was in Wikipedia. Dalarna is a province in Sweden, and the horse above is a famous symbol of the province called a Dalecarlian horse.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jade Diary Gig at the Creatures Loft in Fremantle

Date: Friday, 12th December 2008

The main event:
The Jade Diary

Location:
Creatures Loft in Fremantle, not to be confused with the upstairs area of the Little Creatures Brewery next door (which is where I thought it was, duh, although they are both owned by the same mob). There is a very nice non-smoking outdoor area where you can have a low-volume chat and watch the harbour while you wait for the gig to start. I hate loud pubs where you have to shout to make yourself heard. I have no idea why these places are so popular. What's the point of going somewhere to socialise if you can't hear yourself think?

Dinner before the gig: Char Char Bull, Fremantle. I highly recommend pretty much anything on the menu -- they do great steak (don't go above medium, people!), fish, korma, pizza, and pork rib eye. Make sure you order a side of their delicious chips and try the Jaffa Profiteroles (very generous servings!) for dessert. They're filled with Cointreau ice-cream and covered with dark chocolate sauce. Citrus + chocolate + ice-cream is always a sure winner with me.

Attendees: K, Jaymez, Judith, and Blandwagon. Oh, and me.

The best bits: Cheryl Lim's smooth, silky voice singing ballads or rocking out their new songs. She was a little shaky and nervous on the first song, but soon gained confidence and strength. Her body language seemed a little shy, though. Bigger gestures next time, Cheryl! Channel that inner rock goddess! (But no spirit fingers, 'kay?)

The addition of Jarvis, their new bass player (who is a mate of Blandwagon's and therefore, by extension, a mate of ours so that we can bask in his reflected glory).

The worst bits: Nothing at all to do with the band--they were great. But on the fringes of the stage, there was an idiot hippie who insisted on boring and annoying everyone with his idiot hippie dancing. Right in front of the stage. For the entire set.

Warning (but you all know me by now): long rant follows.


This guy epitomises what I hate about free love and expressing yourself in public. I can understand the lure of all that touch-feelyness and free spiritedness, but when your self-expression blocks my view and distracts from the band that I have specially come to see, then my foot itches to get touchy-feely with your arse.

You know how crazy stoned people dance? (Not that I am making any insinuations. Well, alright, I am.)

They tend to have two main dance styles, number one is their personal impression of a snake-plant-mutant bursting out of the ground and sinously coiling upwards towards the sun (although their interpretation is an insult to snake-plant-mutants everywhere). Sometimes they do that thing where they join their hands together and swim them upwards as they wind their hips in slow circles.

Urgh, I'm dry-retching just trying to remember it.

Dance number two is where they have their arms out at right angles, like the ancient Egyptians, and prance around like gorillas in heat (this interpretation is an insult to gorillas in heat, who are much more graceful and of sounder mind).

We also got a taste of the rarely seen dance number three, where he would suddenly squat and smack his palms on the floor. I was hoping he might accidentally hit himself in the face with the recoil, but karma was not on my side that evening (Lady Karma probably didn't appreciate all the hate I was exuding).

Here are some photos from the night.

Awesome gig begins.

Oh crap. Damn hippie gets up and starts dancing.

Useless management asks him nicely to stop, and then run away when he refuses.
They also appear to keep serving him beer, or allowing his friends to buy him beer.

We continue to helplessly watch his crap monkey dancing.

Aye carumba! I don't know what medications he is on, but he doesn't flag, despite my constant ill-wishing and eye-narrowing.

If you see this man, please ask to him to never reproduce.

I'm not a fan of violence, but I was bitterly disappointed when no one smacked him upside the head, although several hints were made.

Still, great gig, guys. Loved the new songs.
I hope a full-length album comes out soon!
A tip for next time: please do not encourage the crazy dancing man.


Update (16/12/2008):
Oh yes, as Jaymez reminded me in the comments, in addition to (and quite possibly as a result of) his crap dancing, the guy's elasticised pants kept slipping down until we got a full two inches of bum crack. We prayed and prayed that they would slip no further, because it didn't look like he was wearing any underwear. Eurgh. Thanks so much for reminding me, J.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Close enough

I went to a new hairdresser today.

It's a bit like being on the dating scene, finding a new hair stylist. Once upon a time I had a really nice lady named Emma, who always did an awesome job.

I thought Emma and I would stay together forever, and then she changed to weekdays mornings, something about spending more time with her kids.

What about MY needs, Emma?

Then I got Kylie, and she was funny and nice, and also did good hair. I almost believed we had a future together, but then Kylie got married and left the salon. Boo.

After that I tried a few other places and got ripped off with sub-par cuts that I would have to correct myself later at home, ambivalent stylists that weren't into their work (and it showed in the boring, blah results), and colouring prices that could have bought a new well for a Cambodian village.

Then I read about this place on an Australian beauty forum, and thought I'd give it a try. My last (bad) cut was growing out and making me look like an inferior Chaka Khan impersonator.

I'm leaving for Europe in two weeks (ooh yes I am, I'll tell you guys about it later. Just a holiday, not for good.) and I know I'll look dorky in my limited traveller's wardrobe, so the least I can do is have Good Hair.

What an experience.

This little man ruled his salon like an evil overlord from a sci-fi movie.

He was Hyde to his hapless workers and Jekyll to his clients. The trouble is, Jekyll and Hyde won't fool anybody if they're in the same room at the same time.

"Hello, how are yooou?" he crooned to me, touching my hair like it was made from angel scalps and moonbeams.

Then, a split second later, "Don't waste my time!" he shouted at at an apprentice, who seemed to have no idea what she was doing. In fact, she did look like Lindsay Lohan on one of her gormless, hungover days.

I felt like a respected dignitary (perhaps a Rear Admiral?) making a visit to hairdresser boot camp. I wasn't fooled, I knew that if I was one of the shampoo girls instead of a paying customer, I'd be shouted at and humiliated too.

Still, I liked that he was decisive about what styles would work for me, and that he was deft and confident. I knew he was good because he made it look so easy. He didn't misinterpret "chin length" for some other length. Like this woman I went to once who spent the whole time talking to the other stylist and ignoring me, as she cut my hair, and re-interpreted "shoulder length" as, "Chop it all off up to the earlobes, please. And make sure it's really unflattering and bits stick out!"

While I was waiting for my colour to set, I got to observe the mini-dictator in action.

"Are you BLIND?" he demanded of one of the girls who fetched him the wrong colour bobby pins. She was about half a generation older than the other apprentices. I liked her hair-washing technique. She looked glum for most of the time I was there but when I thanked her for the shampoo she had a really sweet smile.

Boss Man flew about the salon like a miniature whirlwind, chastising employees, cajoling customers, shouting orders. I think he gave about five cuts in half an hour, and they ALL looked good.

I was then blow-dried by a gruff but competent lady. No nonsense about her and definitely no time wasted in idle chit-chat or smiling. It was all about the drying. She did a really good job, and, here's an important point that she got right -- she DIDN'T burn the top layer of skin off my scalp. (You know, I still have some slight damage from the damage this idiot caused in 2007, so I get rather flinchy when someone approaches me with a large, industrial strength hair dryer.)

Finally I was looked over by the Great Angry Small One himself, who took out his scissors and nibbled away at my fringe with it, cutting away some imperfection that only he could see. (I like it when they do this, it makes me feel like they care.)

As he bid me farewell, I got the full Dr Jekyll treatment.

"What's your name?" he asked sweetly, touching my hand.
"Angie."
"That's a beautiful name!" he chirped, which, frankly, I thought was laying it on a bit thick. The names that end with phonetic "-ee"s aren't really in what I would call the 'beautiful' category. Lucy, Wendy, Bree, Sookie ... Cute, maybe, but certainly not bee-you-tiful.

But you know what, after all that, I think I'm off the hair-dating scene. I've found my Mr Right-For-Now.

The man is a fruitcake with extra nuts, but he cuts hair like a dream.

Do ignore the toilet cistern in the background.
The bathroom has the best light in the house.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Can you smell the romance?

MFC has taken the plunge and joined Facebook. I told him he had better set his relationship status to the appropriate configuration, or I'd change mine to "Single" and "Interested in Men AND Women".

Look at this message I found five seconds later in my Inbox.

The poor romantic fool.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Oh, the hilarity

Four videos that I couldn't stop laughing at all night:

1), 2) and 3) are From the Chaser's War on Everything, a satirical Australian TV show.

There is some old footage from the first Chaser show, the Election Chaser, that I wish someone would dig up. Unfortunately, it was pre-Youtube (this is probably the only time you will hear me regretting that there a time where we didn't have Youtube), so I haven't been able to find it.

In one of the funniest unscripted scenes I have ever seen, Chas (or was it Chris?) dresses up in an enormous bumblebee costume and ambushes Bronwyn Bishop (a politician known for her bouffant hairstyles). He keeps buzzing around her going, "Bzzz, bzzz! I'm a bumblebee looking for a beeehive!" and I laughed so much I nearly gave myself a hernia.

Ah, I guess you just had to be there.

And as for 4), well, 4) is just pure, solid, shiny GOLD.

Watch:

1) The boys track down John Edward in Sydney (from Season 2, Episode 24).



2) Emo



3) Angelina Jolie's babies



4) The Shine on Me music video by Chris Dane Owens.


Watch it at http://chrisdaneowens.com/video/shine_flash.html.

I first read about this in Coilhouse magazine, in the post, "Shine on Me will burn out all your irony receptors".

There is an 11-year-old girl in me going, “SQUEEEEEEE!” If the clips on this were taken from an actual feature film with cheesy dialogue and budget CG, I would willingly rummage down to the bottom of the bargain bin, pay my $5 and watch it over and over again.

If I were CDO I would have just thrown in the towel and gone off with the three witches. They were HAWT.

I have sent the video link to my death metal-loving boyfriend. Will now sit back and wait for the implosion.

Update: Darn it, MFC's head didn't explode. He actually thought it was pretty funny. The thing is, I still can't decide if the music video is, as we Australians so charmingly say, taking the piss, or a serious attempt at a fantasy video.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A very expensive greeting card

Caution: one of the pictures in this post contains gore. The gore is a pretty colour though.

2am. Whoopee. Every night I owe the sleep bank more and more hours. Soon they'll be sending in their hired goons to collect.

Anyway, once again my parsimony has come back to bite me in the arse.

MFC and I are going to a wedding tomorrow (um, make that today)--well, actually, we're going to a reception, and not a wedding, because we weren't invited to the wedding (it's a weird story, but never mind)--and I was in Borders earlier looking at wedding cards from Paperchase. Which are lovely, but hideously expensive.

$8.50 for a card? Pah! I should just make one myself!

And so I did.

It took me 2 and a half hours. Cutting cardboard into small shapes is tricky. Oh, and 30 minutes of that was spent in triage because my finger slipped onto the scalpel I was using. So this card should be pretty darn auspicious, because a lot of blood was spilt in its making. 

Oh mighty gods of card-making and wedding paraphernalia, accept my tasty sacrifice! Let the glue on the card hold everything together and not embarrass me, let the food tomorrow be tasty and in ample portions, and I beg you, let me not look too hideous and bloated in the photographs!

It is so nice to be living at home, and be able to run into the kitchen helplessly flailing your arms and spurting blood everywhere, while shouting, "Mummy! I've cut myself!" Then you get to watch while she clucks over you and brings out the iodine and gauze and makes everything better. Yep, I am definitely enjoying this while it lasts.


Man, I thought the bleeding would never stop.
"Are you on blood-thinners?" my mother asked suspiciously.


Let's see. The materials for the card would have cost around $4. Labour-wise, I would like to eventually earn at least $30 an hour from arts and craft, so that makes $30 x 2.5 (we'll count the time spent staunching the bleeding) = $75, which makes $79 in total.

Well, well, that $8.50 card doesn't look so expensive after all.

Still, I'm proud of my one-of-a-kind beauty. I like making cards and personalising them for people, and I hope to use experiences like these to learn, so that I can make quality illustration and animation collages later on.

If you're wondering about the theme, well, the bride is a talented singer, and the groom plays guitar. In fact, they used to be in a band together. As for the rest, I think birds and bears are cute and make good silhouettes.